Monday, June 27, 2011

Into the Mountains

Our next stop was Lenoir, NC, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our campground was in those mountains, outside of town. It was a gorgeous location. All the RVs were dwarfed by the tall, tall trees.

We were allowed to drive the park to pick out our site location. We found what we liked fairly quickly. We got set up before the rain started, though it had obviously rained off an on prior to our arrival. This photo was taken later, when we had sun, but it shows what a great site we had.


There was a small babbling brook just below and to the left of the wood deck in this picture. Most of the sites had wood decks – it was hard to choose a site.

It was raining off and on during our first morning there. So we decided to head to the Visitors’ Center and get help deciding what to do during our four-day stay.

We realized that the towns of Blowing Rock and Boone were not far up the road, so we drove there after picking up the tourist brochures. Lenoir is around 1200 feet above sea level. Just before entering Blowing Rock we crossed the Eastern Continental Divide at about 3600 feet. We’d been to these two towns before, so just drove around for a bit.

We stopped in the downtown of Boone to walk the shops, but quickly decided against it. First and foremost: it was cold! We’d been in 90+ degree weather since well before leaving home, so the 65 (or so) of this area with high winds was COLD! (Yes, I’m a weenie, but I was not prepared for that at all.) We drove back into Blowing Rock and had lunch at British pub where we’d eaten before. And it was just as good as before!

Noting the high winds, we decided to head back to the coach and hope that our awning was not torn to shreds. But about half-way back down the mountain, the winds stopped and the temperature rose to about 80. I’d forgotten about the changes going up and down the mountains – it was just like Colorado!

Later that afternoon it rained some more. But the air temperature was cool enough to leave the sheltered windows open and not use the air conditioning. That was a nice change from the weeks before.

The next day, we headed into “historic” downtown Lenoir. We weren’t impressed. The shops were scattered all over and there wasn’t much we were interested in, anyway. So we headed home for lunch and a new plan.

We decided to drive out to Wilson Creek. It’s a small gorge to the west of Lenoir on Hiway 90. After a wrong turn (full of beautiful scenery) we did find our way into the gorge. It, too, was beautiful. We took Brown Mountain Beach Road north along the Wilson Creek. It wasn’t long till it turned into a dirt road.

Here are a couple photos we took along the creek. Lots of folks were enjoying the warm, sunny weather.



We were ready to hit pavement again when the map and the road signs pointed us back onto Hiway 90. Wrong! Several more miles of dirt road – more narrow than we’re used to and still a winding road. I guess that was the price we paid for the gorgeous scenery.

Not long after we got home, it started to rain again. Enough already!

Wednesday was clear and beautiful. We decided to return to Blowing Rock to see The Blowing Rock. We hadn’t gone in the last time we were in the area because the wind wasn’t strong enough for the effect to occur. There wasn’t much wind on this day, but we went in and really enjoyed it.

This is the blowing rock:


It’s not really very big. I won’t go into the legend here, but we heard a man tell his kids that when he was there as a child, his father threw his cap over the rock and it blew right back up and into his hands. I’m sure there wasn’t enough wind to try it on that day, but it’s a cool story.

The views from this area were spectacular. Here are a few shots we took:



And these shots give you an idea of the beautiful grounds.





After leaving the attraction, we went up the road a very short distance to a restaurant called Canyons. Here’s why:


This was the view from our table on the deck. Oh, and the food was really good, too!

Our last day in the area was spent getting ready for travel. With all the rain we’d had, it was smart to get all the outdoor stuff put away while it was at least partially dry. We needed groceries and had other chores to do. The day actually passed pretty quickly.

We’ll be back to the North Carolina mountains later in our trip. But for now, it’s farewell as we head to our next destination.

Happy trails!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Coast

Let the summer RV trip begin!

After lunch on Saturday, June 11, we took off in our motor home for a three-month trip. Our first night was spent in Walkabout Park in Woodbine, GA. We’ve stayed in this park before, before an Aussie couple took it over recently. Not much change in the park itself, but the new owners are VERY nice.

By mid-morning on Sunday we were pulling into Hilton Head Island Resort and Marina. This is a beautiful park located on the Intercoastal Waterway. We hopped in a golf cart to go around the park to pick the site we wanted. That didn’t take long and we set up in a great corner site one row in from the water (which cost extra, of course).

We walked over to the on-site restaurant for lunch. Who knew it was a Sunday Brunch? We had a really nice lunch, but it sure was pricey! That’s Hilton Head, I guess.

On Monday we went out exploring and saw a whole lot of the island. It’s a beautiful place, without a doubt.

One thing I found in the tourist mags that I wanted to see was a statue of Neptune which is also one of the largest sundials in the world. It was really big and cool.


We checked the time and it was dead on! I don’t know how long it’s been there, but long enough to get some corrosion.


We walked around the plaza and went into a couple shops, but didn’t buy any thing.

From there, we drove down to Coligny Plaza. We walked those shops a bit, too, but then decided to head down to the beach. It was just a short walk and we were at the Atlantic Ocean.


It was pretty hot, so the water really looked inviting. But by this time we were in search of lunch and headed back to the car. I thought this walkway was pretty cool between the street and the beach.


We went around to the lighthouse, but didn’t take photos as we’d been there before. Then we found a great place for lunch.

The next day, we drove to Bluffton, which was supposed to have great antebellum houses to look at. However, we never found them. We followed the signs to the historic district, but didn’t find anything of interest.

Not to worry: Savannah, GA, was only another 25 miles, so we drove over there. We walked the river district and had a great lunch at one of the spots there.

Our last day was spent driving north, to Beaufort. There were loads of great houses to look at there and we really enjoyed that. We stopped at a little place that touted the best fish and chips in the area. We tried them and I don’t think they were lying. Yum!

On Thursday, we drove to North Myrtle Beach. We’ve stayed there before and really liked it. On Friday we took a gambling boat out into the Atlantic. We enjoyed it, but didn’t have any great luck to speak of. It happens. (LOL)

Saturday was spent doing those ugly chores that must be done – even on the road. So we did laundry and cleaned the “house”. It was a good day and the important stuff got done.

Sunday found us driving again, heading north and away from the water. So stay tuned for the next installment!

Happy trails!